Tuesday, February 01, 2011

a most excellent recipe

I never thought I'd say such a thing about Hershey's chocolate, but I'm happy to admit I was wrong: this Hershey's recipe for eggless chocolate mousse actually beats out the recipe I got from Nigella Lawson's website. Just made a batch of mousse yesterday, using this new recipe, and it turned out amazingly well.

Nigella's trick for simulating a mousse's consistency without eggs is to use marshmallows-- a move I found extremely clever. But no matter how I tried, the texture of Nigella's mousse never quite seemed right to me. A decent mousse should not merely retain its shape when you dig into it with your spoon: the divot left by the spoon should be pitted with tiny bubbles that indicate you are indeed eating a mousse (French for foam) and not a mere pudding. Nigella's recipe led to only a few scattered, lackluster bubbles.

The Hershey's recipe, however, relies on a different cheat, which you might or might not find disgusting: gelatin instead of marshmallows. Gelatin is mammalian byproduct, as you may know. It doesn't seem quite right that we use it so casually in desserts, but there's no questioning its effectiveness. It's a crucial ingredient in the Hershey's recipe, and guarantees that your mousse will, when attacked, reveal myriad bubbles in its delicious wounds.

The end result doesn't taste bad, either, perhaps because the recipe calls for Hershey's Special Dark chocolate powder and not the regular powder.

Try it. You'll like it.



  1. when i have to top something with whipped cream, i usually stabilize it with some gelatin. not a whole envelope, maybe 1/3 of an envelope (you dont want it to seem like theres any gelatin).

    this trick prevents the whipped cream from weeping.

    ill try this recipe out. sounds good and simple.

    do you like puddings? or are they too heavy for you? i dont know why but i think you tend to favor mousses.

    i recently made an eggless pudding and it was also very good. and very simple to make. but im not out to convert anyone.

  2. I'm probably more of a chocolate mousse guy than a pudding guy, but my experience with pudding is limited, for the most part, to the boxed stuff by Jell-O. And let's face it: Jell-O chocolate pudding doesn't hold a candle to a decent chocolate mousse.

    My buddy Mike has made Yorkshire pudding before, and that's a very different sort of pudding. Most excellent.

  3. You made the Nigella version for HJ and me once. Do you remember that? I remember it being pretty good, along with the Heart Attack Alfredo.

    I gotta ask, though... what's wrong with egg-full mousse?

    (Alton Brown makes his chocolate mousse with gelatin, too, by the way.)

  4. Charles,

    There's nothing wrong with egg-full mousse, but I'm interested in minimizing salmonella potential. Finding viable alternatives to the classic mousse au chocolat is an interesting exercise for me.


  5. This almost sounds like a Bavarian cream instead of a mousse, what with the gelatin and all. But as long as it tastes good, who cares?

    I am a big fan of Hershey's Special Dark cocoa, which is simply Dutch-process cocoa. It has a much deeper flavor and works really well in all my recipes that use cocoa. (Hershey's milk chocolate, OTOH, iconic though it may be, sucks.)

    I make my chocolate mousse the classic French way, with eggs (you can use pasteurized eggs if you fear salmonella, although I have never had a problem with raw eggs) but no whipped cream - except perhaps as a topping.

    As for pudding, I'd hate pudding too if all I had to go by was Jell-O instant pudding. The kind that you cook is a whole lot better - it also comes in boxes, but is a lot harder to find these days. But if you really want a chocolate pudding that God Himself would smile upon, a dessert that can kick a chocolate mousse until its nose bleeds, make it from scratch. If you're interested, let me know and I'll send you a recipe.

  6. Like Elisson, I've never had a problem with raw eggs, although I can understand your concern.

    I'm much more of a custard man than a pudding man, though, so I'm willing to take the risk.

    (Which isn't to say I would not be interested in the recipe for a chocolate pudding that God himself would smile upon. My last custard only managed to get a raised bushy eyebrow and a polite cough from the Old Guy.)

  7. Gelatin is a very common "cheat" for no-cook type puddings and such. I make a "faux panna cotta" using (to your horror no doubt) a pkg of Lemon jello and a can of sweetened condensed milk (tho there are a few more ingredients to this thing).

    One key thing if mammalian gelatin gets you skeeved, look to your Kosher foods aisle in the grocer. Buy KOJEL (not sure if it comes unflavored), as the source for kosher gelatins (such as it is), is vegetable based (either carageenan or agaragar).

    Or you can just go to your health food store and buy a pouch of agar agar flakes (seaweed derived gelatin). The ratio I use is 1:1, that is to say 1 tablespoon for every cup of fluid, tho it can be "tinkered with." It's not cheap, but it is effective, and you don't use all that much of it.

    Another thing you might find interesting for puddings (or shall I say, faux custards, that are cooked, you can use xanthan gum as a thickener (I use it exclusively for my gravies and sauces), and it is AWESOME. Xanthan gum (powder) can be purchased at your local health food store or online at Amazon. I love this stuff, because it's got a negligible amount of carbs, and my sauces all come out very glossy (provided that the sauce/gravy comes to a full boil once I've added it to the pot).



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